Case Study: The National Gallery

Managed Print Masterpiece for the National Gallery

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The National Gallery is an art museum based in Trafalgar Square, London. Founded in 1842 the Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The Gallery sees a huge number of visitors from all over the world walk through their doors every day.  

Prestigious art gallery 

Housing over 2,300 works 

New managed print system

The Challenge

The National Gallery needed a new printing, photocopying and scanning system due to the multiple problems that they were experiencing with their existing set up. Printing is a large part of the gallery’s business and as such the Gallery were looking for a partner who could provide a solution which solved their problems as well as ensuring only minimal disruption. Stuart Ewins, the IS Systems Manager at the National Gallery, acknowledges that this was not an easy project; the large size of the gallery and the many locations of devices meant this would be a difficult venture.

The printing estate at the National Gallery had developed over time and as such there was a piecemeal approach to the printing system. A lot of the hardware the gallery were using was old meaning the devices were often malfunctioning and engineers had to be called out. The age of the devices also meant that it was a struggle to get the correct consumables. The existing system was making it very difficult for staff to print, scan or photocopy. 30% of all calls to the gallery’s IT helpdesk were for printer issues.

The Gallery’s existing system also had serious security issues. There was no way for users to track their documents once they were sent to the printer, and no way to guarantee that documents wouldn’t get lost in the system. 

The Solution

Softcat listened to the challenges that the National Gallery were facing and suggested solving these issues with a Softcat Managed Print service. The first stage of this was for Softcat to perform an audit on the current printing estate at the gallery to access exactly how the current system was being used. To Stuart’s surprise Softcat found that the Gallery were printing over 100,000 pages a month, a lot more than Stuart thought. From this it was clear that The Gallery needed a system which would allow them to more accurately monitor their printer usage.  

To fully understand what the gallery required in a print solution, Softcat spoke to the staff about their experience of printing and how they felt it could be improved. The costs of the current printing system were also analysed to see where Softcat could help the Gallery save money. 

The Benefits

Softcat came up with a tailored managed print solution to solve the gallery’s problems. Stuart comments, “The new print service has brought a lot of benefits to the National Gallery."

Softcat implemented a follow-me printing system to make the printing system much more secure. Staff can now login to any printer and retrieve the documents they sent to print. Documents are now much less likely to get stuck in the system and documents can only be retrieved by the person who printed them. This was a huge worry for the Gallery before but with this system in place the whole architecture is much more secure.

The Gallery now have a way to easily monitor printing which means they have a better understanding of what is happening in regards to printing across the entire gallery. As part of the solution the Gallery now get Safecom reports which provide accurate information on printing within the gallery allowing Stuart to start building a print strategy for the future.

The new system is easier for staff to use and the new devices are also easier for the technicians to manage. The helpdesk at the Gallery now receive far less calls due to issues with printers, freeing up their time. Softcat provided a cost effective solution to help the gallery save on their printing costs.

Softcat provided a project manager onsite to manage and install all the devices and we continue to provide support going forward with every aspect of the solution, from the consumables to the devices. The Gallery also have access to Softcat’s own help desk which gives them one number to call if they require assistance. Here they can get help on everything from consumables to technical printer problems.  

Stuart has said that the new print service has brought a lot of benefits. He says, “We are getting a lot of support from Softcat around this solution which, unlike previous solutions, where [the solutions] have been implemented and we’ve really been left to try to get on with it ourselves."

Why Softcat?

Softcat listened to the difficulties that the Gallery were having and came up with a tailored solution to meet their needs. Stuart comments that he would recommend Softcat and states that, “[Softcat] have been very helpful through the entire process.”

Solution highlights:

  • Hugely improved printing security
  • Large reduction in help desk requests for printers
  • Dedicated project manager to assist with implementation
  • Continued support from Softcat
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